China plans to send its second orbiting space lab Tiangong-2 into space in the third quarter of this year, five years after the country launched its first space lab Tiangong-1 in 2011.
But they are only parts of China’s ambitious space lab program, which aims to put a permanent manned space station into service around 2022.
Why does China want to build its own space lab? What’s the lab for?
Here are explanations from political advisors who are in an annual session in capital Beijing.